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Trip Reports - 2015


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July 25 - BNRC trails and Tanglewood Concert
We met at Tanglewood and walked through Kirpalu to the orchard where we took Monks Pond, Brothers, Walsh, and Burbank trails in a loop back to Kirpalu.(about 6 miles) We returned to Tanglewood in time for a Festival of Contemporary Music concert at Ozawa Hall.

  Leader: Sharon Bonk  Participants: Syma Lapides, Sheila Rorke, Aldea Bogarski, Mary Wood, Dona Burdick, Blanche Nelson, Mary MacDonald, Diane Allegro




July 8 - Lake Awosting hike
We had a lot of replies and interest from NYC members of AMC, even though Minnewaska State Park is not that far from Albany (about an hour). We met at the parking lot for Lake Minnewaska in Minnewaska St Park, and hiked the Upper Awosting Carriage Road, about 3 or 3.5 miles to Lake Awosting beach. It was easy walking on smooth gravel road. The "beach" there is made of quartzite, not sand yet. We had our lunch, watched the very tame ducks attempt to share it, and three of us swam in the beautiful lake. The predicted rain never came. We then hiked back on a four mile trail, the Hamilton Point carriage road, which had beautiful views out over the valley and of the rock cliffs. We had 4 non-members (our grandsons being 2 of them), two members of NYC chapter, and 1 MH member besides us.

  Leader: Will Crowther  Co-leader: Nancy Crowther  Participants: Alex Lawrence, Ben Lawrence, Jim Marks, Liz Hester, Dave Esmond, Rachel Weinstein, Ok Kim

The group (minus Nancy) on the Upper Awosting Carriage Road





June 27 - Storm King and Butter Hill
As an AMC group of five Mohawk Hudson Chapter members, we left Albany taking I87 south to later meet up with two local Nyack, N.Y. hikers. Lenore, an AMC member learned of the hike at the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference web site, making our group meeting and starting out from the Stowell Trailhead in Cornwall-on Hudson one of seven. From there we followed a counterclockwise loop of the Highlands Trail using the Bluebird Trail as a connector up to reaching Butter Hill. The top of Butter Hill afforded some very nice views and a rocky spot to take a lunch break including early year blueberries before the day's light (rain gear) on and off drizzle's increase followed us back along the Highlands Trail to Storm King Mtn. and our trailhead start (5.06 miles and 4.20 hours). At Storm King, we reached a rocky field with wide views of Newburgh Bay, Bannerman's (Island) Castle, the Newburgh-Beacon bridge, Catskills in the distance and the eastern Hudson Highlands across the river. Unlike today's wet conditions, on a sunny, breezy day, the Hudson River below fills with sailboats. Though mostly rushing (due to the rains) past this awesome spot to relax and take it all in, the views around Storm King's eastern ridge were a tremendous enjoyment to all of us as a group, including quite a large turnout of other fellow hikers. As a group of four we returned to Albany detouring north of Albany to Cronomer Hill Park's Observation Tower for a last look at Storm King's flank over Wind Gap.

  Leader: Jean Laverdure  Co-leader: John Tifft, Ellen Kozlowski  Participants: Sharon Bonk, Kathleen Helfrich, Lenore Green, Eva R.






June 17 - Trail Work on the Appalachian Trail
Our primary mission was to clear space on the trail that parallels the Hossic River in order that the person who then comes with the DR mower would have no difficulty in getting through. We were successful with that using two weed whackers that were outfitted with special blades. The weed whackers were followed by two participants who cleared the cut brush and also cleared overhanging and intrusive brush from the trail. Dave Koerber of the Appalachian Trail Conference again provided much needed advice and help.

  Leader: John Tifft  Participants: Dave Esmond, Mike Boucher, Dave Koerber




June 13 - June 13 Moxham Mountain (Hike)
Moxham Mountain hike on June 13, 2015. We arrived at the trailhead on a beautiful morning following a tremendous storm the night before, and anticipating a hike with many wonderful views on a spectacularly clear day. The leader (Ellen) missed the actual trailhead right from the beginning, thinking that there was lots of blow-down from the previous nights storm and that was why the trail didn't look or feel right. Fortunately, after quite a bit of bushwhacking, we came across the correct trail and proceeded with a beautiful hike to the summit. The company was great the the views spectacular.

  Leader: Ellen Kozlowski  Co-leader: John Tifft  Participants: Lynette Timm, Amy Cherkosly

John, Amy and Lynette with the summit in the background





June 10 - Trail Work on theTaconic Crest Trail
This turned out to be a wonderful collaborative effort with members of the Rensselaer Land Trust, even though we didn't make it all the way. We split up at the beginning of our section. Four of us started clipping back the sides of the trail beginning almost from the entrance. Two of us used weed whackers equipped with sturdy blades, while two volunteers cleared the cuttings. The other four volunteers took of towards the summit of Berlin to clear out the runoffs with rakes. The four who were clipping made it as far as about 100 feet beyond the 90 degree turn to the left before calling it a day. The four clearing the runoffs made it as far as the final climb to the summit. We met where the clipping crew had stopped and enjoyed lunch together. All of us then went back down. There were three people who were not members of our chapter.

  Leader: John Tifft  Participants: David Esmond, Ellen Kozlowski, MIke Boucher, Fran Egbert, Marcy Steinberg, Peter Wood, David Aikens




June 6 - Trails Day at Thacher Park
Thacher Park is undergoing a number new changes. A new Director was appointed a very short time prior to Trails Day at Thacher Park. Because she was still in the process of learning about the issues confronting her at Thacher, she hadn't had the time to help organize any needed projects for the Trails Day Event. Consequently, the head maintenance man, Jim and bonnie Shaller decided that the participants should simply walk the trails that they felt needed work. I walked with Jim Schaller along with a number of others on the Fred Schroeder loop. We noted all the damage that had been done during the winter to a great many pine trees that Jim and Bonnie had cleared. We clipped where needed and when done doing the loop, we enjoyed a BBQ lunch provided by the Friends of Thacher Park.

  Leader: John Tifft




May 20 - Trail maintenance at Schoharie Preserve
Six of us went to the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy's Schoharie Preserve and performed spring maintenance on the trails. The folks weeded and cleaned up the parking lot, cleaned up the pile of trees left on the trail by the utility workers, mowed, lopped, weed-whacked, and carried out four large plastic bags of trash. We worked on putting up the trail markers.

  Leader: Will Crowther  Co-leader: Nancy Crowther  Participants: Gerry Weber, John Tifft, Ellen Kozlowski, Dave Benson

The whole gang down by the river





May 13 - Normanskill Preserves Hike
We met at Normanskill Preserve West,one of Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancies pieces of conservation land. We did the loop there of about three miles, also covering the small loop at Normanskill East. It was lovely along the Normans Kill and in the woods. We then drove a short distance along Delaware Avenue to a parking lot for the new Helderberg Hudson Rail Trail. We ate our lunch at a picnic table and then walked along the unfinished part of the rail trail for about a mile. We finished the day with ice cream at Toll Gate Ice Cream place.

  Leader: Will Crowther  Co-leader: Nancy Crowther  Participants: Anne Finch, Bob Fakundiny, Brad Mohr

a selfie of the whole gang at Normanskill West Preserve





May 9 - Snow Hole
Snow Hole May 9,2015-It was a glorious day to hike. We had the trail to Snow Hole to ourselves on the way up. We saw trillium, fields of trout lilies and asters. The Snow Hole lived up to its name.

  Leader: Kevin Cox  Participants: Ellen Kozlowski




May 6 - Trail Work on theTaconic Crest Trail
This was our first of will be several trail work days on our section of the Taconic Crest Trail. Ed Slattery, an experienced maintainer of this section, was very much appreciated as he was able to point out where all the runoffs were as well as giving us some tips for future maintenance. He quickly raked the runoffs, while we did some clearing of intruding trees and branches. The weather was cooperative, and we enjoyed the cool breezes at the top of Berlin while having lunch.

  Leader: John Tifft  Participants: Ellen Kozlowski, David Esmond, MIke Boucher, Ed Slattery




May 2 - Huyck Preserve, Rensselaerville
Five of enjoyed the spring beauty of the Huyck Preserve: waterfall, lake, pond, birds, and flowers. The trail on the left side of the lake has been improved recently with board walks over the wet parts of the trail.

  Leader: Sharon Bonk  Participants: Nancy Crowther, Will Crowther, Anna Brewer, Richard Brewer






May 2 - I Love My Park Day at Thacher Park
Dave and I were offered the opportunity to repair three horseshoe pits to be found at Thacher. We accepted and after receiving some guidance and materials we then were able to complete our assignment. The work represented a little bit of a change of pace for the usual trail work, but fit in with the general scheme of all the work being done there on this day at Thacher to help improve its appearance and general appeal for the public.

  Leader: John Tifft  Participants: Dave Esmond




May 1 - Cherry Plain State Park Waterfalls hike
Eight hikers tramped through the park on loop hike that included the Waterfall Trail, Pesticide Shack Road, and the Charcoal Trail, ending at Black Pond with lunch overlooking the pond.Three of the group crossed the Black River twice to link parts the Waterfall Trail while others opted for an easier approach after our return to the parking lot. During lunch we were serenaded by Canada geese and saw an eagle checking out the pond's menu.


  Leader: Sharon Bonk  Participants: Mary MacDonald, Ellen Kozlowski, Kathleen Helfrich, Vicki Singer, Karen Ross, Sheila Rorke, Audrey Wyman






April 27 - Trail Work on the Appalachian Trail
Now that the snow had finally cleared, we were able to gauge more clearly the areas that will present our biggest challenges in the months to come. With the help of Dave Koerber, the Adirondack Trail Coordinator for volunteer efforts for sections in this part of the AT we were able to ascertain and work mainly on the section bordering the Housaonic River. We were able to clear the brush impediments that would hinder the work that the person with the DR mower would encounter when he goes through with his equipment later in the season. We also checked out some reported blowdown that appeared to have been taken care of by the farmers whose land the AT traverses. All in all, we were able to accomplish quite a bit. We look forward to coming back to it later.

  Leader: John Tifft  Participants: Jean Laverdure, Dave Esmond, MIke Boucher, Ellen Kozlowski




April 26 - Trail Work at Dyken Pond Enviromental Center
The Director of the Dyken Pond Enviromental Center was very pleased that two of our members showed up with chain saws to help clear some of the trails. She pointed out where the trees were on the map and Mike Boucher and Dave Cedar cleared them with their chain saws. The rest of the crew helped clear the debris once it had been cut. Once that had been done, the crew split up, one part surveying some trails that the Director had not surveyed yet, and Dave and Mike finishing up with some more chain saw work further down the road.

  Leader: John Tifft  Participants: Dave Esmond, Ellen Kozlowski, Mike Boucher, Dave Cedar




April 22 - Hollyhock Earth Day Celebration
With the generous and knowledgeable information sharing that Douglas Bechtel gave our group of earth day celebrants, I and fellow member, Ellen Kozlowski felt privileged and lucky to have chosen to have taken part in this initial event of this Hollyhock Earth Day Event. The second part of this event was a clearing of some of the gardens as well as a clearing of some of the trails. We finished in time to go home before what looked to be a strong storm came.

  Leader: John Tifft  Participants: Ellen Kozlowski, David Esmond, Sharon Bonk




April 19 - Community Forrest Trail Work
Even though we had no other participants other than myself, I was glad to aid in the trail work involved in preparing a new acquisition of the Rensselaer Plateau Alliance for their ribbon cutting event to take place in the near future. This is a very exciting new land area containing about 320 acres of land off Plank Road Rensselaer County. I was told that it contains a great deal of wetlands thus providing for a more varied habitat for wildlife. To me, it means another great area in Rensselaer County to explore in the future and perhaps be able to share with our members.

  Leader: John Tifft




April 18 - Canal Clean Sweep
Along with my sole partner for this endeavor we traveled to the Schoharie Crossing State Park in Fort Hunter, N.Y. to take part in one of the activities scheduled for the Erie Canal length clean up scheduled thoughout the month of April. At the site, we split up for a while. Sharon worked on the tow path, while I worked to clear the historical section of the canal. Later we met for lunch provided by the Park and discussed among other things the eye opening exposure this event gave us to this particular park. Hopefully we can by way of a combination bike and hike event make more of our members aware of this area.


  Leader: John Tifft  Participants: Sharon Bonk




April 13 - Survey of the Long Path through Thacher Park
With the very generous participation of Jim Shaller and his wife Bonnie, the three other participants of this hike were treated to a fascinating guide to the many historical points along this route. Some of what Jim told us concerned the the actual route of the Indian Ladder, the transactions which took place between Jim Thomas (the Weatherguard founder) and the Open Space Institute, and the agreement which was made to keep some of the northern lands mowed and open. As always, the views were spectacular. We saw a raven actually do a flip over while in flight,three times. The buzzards were out and gracefully gliding around in the updrafts. The trail was clear for its entire distance, unlike the Fred Schroeder trail which the Shallers spent a lot of time this past winter clearing. We had half a lunch at a pavilion along the way, then enjoyed the other half at the high point, before continuing the last mile to the Old Stage Road trailhead.

  Leader: John Tifft  Participants: Jim Shaller, Bonnie Shaller, David Esmond, Emily Patton




April 11 - Sage's Ravine and Bear Mountain
With a bit of anticipatory worry about possible icy conditions, the leader and four other hikers started our hike. We started out with microspikes as a camper at the AMC camping area near the trailhead told us that we would need them. The leader and another hiker had traversed the same route about a week before and the amount of ice and snow that had melted in that amount of time was amazing. There were still some patches of ice, but mostly it was soft snow although not deep enough to make for unpleasant hiking. We beheld the ravine at it's rip roaring best, and checked out the camping area along the ravine. The climb up Bear was made much easier due to the amount of bare rock now visible. We hunkered down as best we could against the strong chilly wind for lunch while observing some young people arriving at the summit with t shirts and sneakers. The finale of this hike was a pleasant jaunt down the western side, where we didn't even need our microspikes or traction devices.

  Leader: John Tifft  Participants: Mary McDonald, John Susko, Jean Laverdure, Mike Boucher




March 21 - Goodnow Mountain
It was snowing lightly as John, Nancy and I began our hike up Goodnow Mountain. We chose to use microspikes and carry our snowshoes as the trail looked firmly packed. A little less than a mile into the hike, we did need to switch to snowshoes as we ran into deeper and softer snow. This mountain has beautiful views from a couple of spots on the trail, as well as magnificent views from the firetower, and though the day was generally overcast, the views were still awe inspiring. I loved a comment from Nancy that she needs to get to the mountains to "take it all in and carry it back". We so agree on that!!
The snowshoes came off to climb the firetower and back on as we made our way down to the cabin where we ate lunch on the porch which provided a nice respite from the wind. We headed back down the mountain and at the parking lot me a Girl Scout leader and about 6 young teenage girls about to head up. We had the opportunity to chat with them a bit and it turns out the leader is a member of our chapter. Overall a wonderful day for hiking with good company and good conversation!

  Leader: John Tifft  Co-leader: Ellen Kozlowski  Participants: Nancy Schuller

"Selfie" with Nancy, Ellen and John





February 11 - X-C skiing
Only 3 of us set out for Notchview X-C center with the plan of meeting a 4th. When we arrived, we learned from the many buses in the parking lot and the 100s of teenagers everywhere that the Massachusetts statewide x-c meet had been rescheduled for today! We surveyed the seen and quickly decamped to Pine Ridge where we met our contemporaries, contemplating the quiet of the Rensselaer Plateau.

  Leader: Sharon Bonk  Participants: Virginia Parsons, Mary MacDonald






February 4 - County Forest ski/snowshoe
We met at Schenectady County Forest trailhead, but the parking lot had not been plowed since Monday's 15 inches of snow fell. We shuttled to a side street where we parked, and drove the drivers back to County Forest, where Will had dug out one parking place. We did a lovely loop on beautiful deep soft untracked snow. The skiers broke trail, followed by the 3 snowshoers. We then went to the Crowther house, and 5 of us skied some of the trails there, before coming inside for a long lunch.

  Leader: Will Crowther  Co-leader: Nancy Crowther  Participants: Sharon Bonk, Ellen Kozlowski, Dave Esmond, Anneliese Lawson, Anne Finch

Lunch at the Crowthers after skiing/snowshoeing





January 28 - Grafton State Park X-C and snowshoe
Six brave souls set off at 5F on the Spruce Bog trail, some on snow shoes and others on skis. There were about 8" of new powder on a good base so the trail was decent but unbroken. The woods were beautiful, draped in white. We made a short loop, returned to the car and the skiiers switched to snowshoes and we set off again around Mill Pond, up NIMO, down to Long Lake and back along Second Lake and across Mill Pond.

  Leader: Sharon Bonk  Participants: Dave Esmond, Ray Henrikson, Katie Henrikson, Bob Armao, Charlie Beach

Are we racing?  Photo by Charlie Beach





January 21 - X-C skiing, Prospect Mt. VT
Four hearty souls set out from bright, crisp, and a frozen Albany area to arrive in a brigher, crisper (5F), but wonderfully groomed Prospect Mt in Woodford VT. For the morning we had most of the trails to ourselves. By noon, others had joined us.
This outing had been scheduled for Notchview in Windsor MA, but icy conditions and limited trails made the leader change the venue.

  Leader: Sharon Bonk  Participants: Dave Esmond, Mike Boucher, Ray Henrikson






January 1 - New Year's Day Hike
This New Year's Day hike was in conjunction with our chapter of AMC's annual meeting and pot luck social. We were a group of 11 participants and enjoyed the walk in Five Rivers Environmental Preserve. We had anticipated of course this being a snowshoe hike which would have been a bit more challenging endurance wise, but we were challenged nevertheless with maneuvering over roots and downed branches, especially in the areas where we had to go around icy areas. Hot cider and lunch awaited us at Elm Park and Recreation. All in all an enjoyable morning.

  Leader: John Tifft  Co-leader: Ellen Kozlowski  Participants: Dee Wind, Frank Wind, Thomas Welsh, Bradley Mohr, Deb Richards, Gerry Weber, Ann Fakundiny, Jill Nagy, George Nagy




January 1 - New Years Day Hike at Five Rivers
An around the perimeter walk of the nearby outdoor treasure called Five Rivers by eleven participants. The day was a continuation of the very cold weather that had been dominating the area prior to this date. However all seemed to have warmed by the walk. Some of the participants voiced a renewed admiration for all that Five Rivers has to offer.

  Leader: Ellen Kozlowski  Participants: John Tifft, Tom Walsh, Dee Portzer, Frank Wind, Dee Wind, George Nagy, Jill Nagy, Brad Mohr, Anne Finch, Gerry Webber





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